NY firefighter receives life-saving heart transplant in time to celebrate Father's Day

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A New York firefighter will get to celebrate this Father's Day without the fear of whether he'll make it to the next holiday after receiving a life-saving heart transplant.

Michael Leavey, 44, is a firefighter and EMT at Dix Hills Fire Department in Suffolk County, Long Island.

Leavey was diagnosed with heart failure and cardiomyopathy at 31.

"I was going to fight the fight for my wife and my son no matter what," Leavey said.

Leavey went on disability in 2019 and doctors put him on an LVAD, a pump that keeps the heart working until a transplant can be done.

He had to quit coaching baseball and made the difficult decision to sell his boat, as the LVAD makes any water activity impossible.

His condition got so bad that he could barely walk or participate in day-to-day activities.

A few years ago his fire department provided a special escort for him to attend his son's high school graduation, something he almost missed because of his declining health.

Last August, Leavey began treatment at Mount Sinai Hospital and was an inpatient for more than 70 days waiting for a heart transplant.

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Rob Kenney launched a how-to YouTube channel to help those without dads.

Doctors got the call in November and successfully performed the procedure.

"Since the heart transplant is the first time I can see past my next birthday, I wasn't convinced it was ever going to come or happen," Leavey said.

Since the surgery, Leavey is thriving in his recovery and recently took a trip to Florida to watch his son play baseball, something he could only dream of doing before.

Now Leavey said he's excited to be able to spend Father's Day with his family and that, "this is the first year that I'm not worried about not being able to make it to the next one."

ALSO READ | 'March of Dads' rally held in Brooklyn in support of fathers of color
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The 'March of Dads' was held Father'sDay morning in Brooklyn offering fathers, particularly those of color, an opportunity to bond and build a community.

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